Part 4 [04/12/2000]

·Odd Squad
Art Director Rob Brown, Part 4

What does an Art Director do at Oddworld?

An art director gives direction to the art. We work with everyone who is involved in assembling the “look” of the game. Game designers, real time modeling, and engineers are all key to making the game, or in this case making Munch’s Oddysee, look good. The art director does a dance, hmmm more like a scramble, to keep all of the elements from all of these different departments in sync with the director’s vision. He/she also is called upon to make judgments on how to approach construction and implementation of the art elements. Sketching, rendering, modeling and just about any other form of communication are key tools to the art director. Wait, all communication except hand-waving, hand-waving is a big no-no. There is nothing like a bit of ambiguous hand-waving to send a perfectly good concept into the dark alleys of miscommunication and diminishing returns. So please stick to the mentioned types of communication and refrain from hand-waving please.

I create a ton of art to explain designs and concepts. A good rule of thumb is: if you want it, you have to ask for it. It’s a pretty easy policy. If the people working around you go “Huh?” then you need to do more communicating (not hand-waving). We story board, draw, draft and paint everything. There should be no question as to what the task at hand needs to have in order to get done. Those sketches and information packages are the you asking part of “if you want it, you have to ask for it.” When it’s asked for correctly the director’s vision is easily passed on to the other artists in the studio. Realtime gets its draftings and paintings, game design gets its layouts, and the assistant director gets his “Policy and Procedures for Interactive Languages and Devices” schematics. Once everyone has the information it is time for the scramble. If you covered all the bases and possibilities, the scramble is not so bad. If you got chimpy, however, and left holes and glossed over information, it will turn your scramble into a “Full-Tilt Boogie, Boot-Scooting, Slobber-Knocker” of a time, and that’s bad.

In the end, all the information gets distilled, disseminated and manifested. All of the painting and story boards pays off and all the hard work that the art director did comes to fruition. Through the entire studio’s hard work, the threads from all the ideas, from all the different departments have now been woven into the fabric of the interactive experience. In a small way, the art director can take pride in the fact that there are no knots or kinks in the seamless fabric of the experience.

Y’all, it was great doing the Odd Squad article. Thanks for dropping by to see the latest news on our web site. Well wishes, and good cheer for the holidays. Take care. –Rob